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1. What are the value and future of the EAI vendors when we have Web services?

Web services is not a stand-alone product. Web services is a set of standards that must be implemented in software solutions in order to bring value to the enterprise. As Figure 1 shows, there are four primary software solutions that utilize Web services – Microsoft .Net and J2EE solutions in which Web services interfaces are implemented via custom development (the Custom Development Axis), and EAI and Packaged software solutions where Web services are deployed through integration (the Integration Axis).

Figure 1: Realizing the Value of Web Services

A particular Web services delivery platform is chosen by an enterprise to ensure other selected applications work appropriately in or outside the firewall. The enterprise’s information technology strategy or roadmap typically addresses these factors, and large enterprises may employ them all in one way or another. Web services and EAI software are two complementary technologies, and the best question to ask is “What is the most appropriate platform for my enterprise to realize the full value of Web services standards now and in the future?”

Web services technology compliments EAI products by providing a standard mechanism that permits systems on incompatible platforms to interface with each other. The problem of integration arose because of incompatible and closed architectures of various applications, but EAI products solve the problem of making proprietary applications talk to each other in a proprietary manner. Web services-based technologies enable the exposing of integrated interfaces in a readily understood manner by utilizing standards-based technologies. So Web services-based technologies will help vendors deliver EAI solutions at a lower cost.

2. What is the role of BPEL and/or other process management / orchestration standards?

As mentioned in the webinar, there are two types of standards -- interoperability standards and portability standards. BPEL and the Web Services Choreography Interface are portability standards in that they allow tool vendors to create products that export or import process management logic in a format that can be shared with other products. For example, a best-of-breed process-modeling tool (e.g., the tools offered by IDS Scheer or Proforma) can be used to model a set of business processes and then the logic that describes these processes can be exported for use by a best-of-breed process-management tool.


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